NOT EVERY LOVEY-DOVEY DUO... walks the roses and bubbly and chocolate path. Some like to go far further than that, in the gourmet goodie department -- a room full of a sweetheart's favorite flower, for example -- while others prefer their flowers in a field. Or trees next to a meadow or grasses swaying by a brook. And they like to leave that natural beauty right where it is, untouched but not unadmired, and to share that moment with their One-and-Only. It's rather fortunate, then that our nearer-than-you-think national parks happen to be some of the most romantic places on the planet. Hike by a vista known for sunsets and you can just bet that a few hundred marriage proposals have gone down on that very spot. Stop in a timber-and-river-rock lodge for a pick-me-up and try to guess how many honeymoons have happened within the hotel's stout walls. (Answer: Very many.) And think of all the people who like flowers for Valentine's, but flowers that stay behind, growing on, when the day of hiking or picnicking is done.
THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION, the organization that "enriches America's national parks and programs through private support, safeguarding our heritage and inspiring generations of national park enthusiasts" is all about Valentine's fun in our parks, and they've got ideas. Not just ideas, but tempting incentive, too: Admission is free to every park in the system on Feb. 14, 2015.
PRESIDENTS DAY WEEKEND: It just so happens that the hearts-filled day is happening over the traditional admission-waived days that mark our presidential holidays, so people looking to honor both, and save cash getting into Yosemite, Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, or beyond, are in some lovely luck. If you go further afield on Valentine's Day, the Foundation has loads of ideas about how to celebrate (think sledding together at Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in Idaho and admiring migrating whales together from a vantage point in California's own Point Reyes National Seashore). Want Valentine's Day ideas? Click. Want to know more about the Free Entrance Days at all of our national parks? Click. Want to love our wild places forever, by visiting them, championing them, and showing you care? High fives all around.